Malaysian band RYÖT JONES is opening for Joss Stone in KL
Lead vocalist Kyren Thomas tells us about the band ahead of their performance at Joss Stone's concert on 18 March
Who are you?
We're RYÖT JONES and we're an eight-piece band. I'm Kyren Thomas, the frontman and lead vocalist of the band.
From top left in the picture above, there's Deo Karmawan, Izzy Azhar on the bass, and Eddie Askari on the keyboard. From the bottom left, there's Clifford Tan on the alto saxophone, Aaron Gideon on the drums, me and Payung on the trumpet. Our tenor saxophone player Jazmi Jamaluddin isn't in that picture, so here's another of him in between Clifford and Payung.
How did RYÖT JONES come about?
It started when Deo approached me after a gig I did with my old band. Long story short, we had many jam sessions and we met more musicians and we're now a group of eight.
What bands and genres are RYÖT JONES's biggest influences?
Our individual influences differ but as a whole, our sound is mainly influenced by the likes of Jamiroquai, Incognito, James Brown, George Clinton, and Stevie Wonder. In terms of music direction, it is a collective process. We've always known the kind of music we wanted to play from the beginning. So it's just about continuously venturing and growing inside those genres and expanding our skill set and not being afraid to venture out of it when we have to.
How do you feel about performing for Joss Stone this weekend?
To be honest, it blew our minds. I never thought that we'd one day get to share a stage with a Grammy nominated artist and especially one with the calibre of Joss. We're all just freaking out and fan-girling on our WhatsApp group when we heard the news.
What are your favourite Joss Stone songs? Did she influence the band in any way?
Spoiled has to be my favourite track. Everything from her voice, the melody and lyrics is sheer art. It's got so much soul. She has definitely influenced the music we make. We always try to inject as much soul as possible into our songs and sets, taking cues from amazingly talented people like Joss.
Where can we find RYÖT JONES on a normal day?
That depends. As there are eight of us, we usually end up all over the place. Some would say the bar. Some would be at work. Some shooting commercials. Unless we're all performing together, eight is too many to keep track of.
If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Wow. It has to be James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Jay Kay from Jamiroquai, Bluey from Incognito, P. Ramlee and Sudirman.
Where do you see the band in 5 years?
At the Grammys or probably on tour.
Would you say that RYÖT JONES has made it big in the local music scene?
Nah. There's a lot of positive hype around us. But I'll never say "we've made it" until we've won that AIM (Anugerah Industri Muzik) and hit number 1 on the local charts. We've got big goals and each of us wants to achieve them.
Any advice for aspiring musicians?
Always believe in yourself. And respect the art of music as much as you respect yourself. Always remain humble and keep your work ethics on high because the competition is stiff.
Catch the RYÖT JONES at Joss Stone's Total World Tour on 18 March at Liquidity Concept Bar located on Sky Level, First Avenue, Bandar Utama. Doors open at 7pm and tickets are still available here. Follow the band on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more updates.